Six seconds can change your life. This article shows you six ways to make sure your resume makes the best use of every second… and you get the interview.
Be a Really Good Fit for the Job
Obvious advice, but this truth is ignored by way too many job seekers. If you’re not qualified for the job… you will not be successful in the traditional application process! This isn’t to say that you can’t get a job for which you are not qualified, but to do that, you need to it through non-traditional ways.
Apply to Fewer Jobs
Don’t bother applying for jobs that you’re not excited about. You could be excited about the product, the team, the money, or the skills you’ll learn — but make sure it’s something. If you’re excited about the opportunity, you’ll spend more time applying and do a better job of it. Simply sending your resume to hundreds of open jobs is a waste of both your time and each company’s.
Extensively Research the Company
Taking the extra time to research the company is your best weapon. You’ll get an idea of its products, culture and values. This information will be extremely valuable when customizing your resume for the job and writing a cover letter. In the interview stages it becomes even more relevant. Here’s exactly what to research:
- The company website
- News articles and press releases
- The company’s products (if it is software, sign up or watch a demo; if it is a physical product, go to a store and give it a try.)
- Interviews with any key team members (try a YouTube search)
- Company social media profiles and media channels (podcasts, hangouts, etc.)
- Team members’ LinkedIn profiles and social media profiles
This will give you data on what the company culture is like and help you get a better idea of what exactly it’s looking for.
Customize Your Resume (and Cover Letter) for the Job
A well-designed resume will outline your skills, experience and how it all relates to the job. Customize your resume for each job application, and use keywords from the job description to increase your chances at an interview. The initial resume review involves pattern-matching — looking for similarities between the job description and your resume. Make the job easy. According to The Ladder’s resume study, recruiters spent almost 80 percent of the time looking at:
- Candidate name, current title and company
- Previous title and company
- Start and end dates for current and previous positions
“Beyond these data points, recruiters did little more than scan for keywords to match the open position, which amounted to a very cursory pattern-matching activity” said researchers in the study.
A piece of advice: Never apply to a job with your LinkedIn profile . It is too general and doesn’t outline exactly what you bring to the table specifically for the position.
The same advice applies to your cover letter. Adapt your cover letter to the company’s style using information you learned in your research.
Get a Warm Referral
Contact someone relevant at the company for an informational interview where you can learn more about the position, impress the right people and increase the odds of your resume getting a second look.
Search on Data.com or LinkedIn to find someone to speak with at the organization. Find their email address (don’t send an InMail).
Write a relevant email outlining why you’re interested in learning more about the company. If you show your passion for the job and ask great questions, you will get a response.
Finally… Beef Up Your Online Presence
Once employers like your resume, they’ll dig deeper. This includes a second look at your resume and a Google search, which means you’ll want to link to an online portfolio of your top projects from your resume. This is your best opportunity to make a lasting impression…
Compared to the six-second resume screen, our data shows that people spend on average almost four minutes viewing an online portfolio .
You should also have a high-quality LinkedIn account and Twitter profile. ANd, of course, clean up your Facebook and Instagram accounts to make sure you don’t trigger any red flags (anything stupid you’ve done in the past with picture or text evidence).
From doing the right thing before you submit a resume until after you’ve passed the six-second test, do everything possible to impress the employer… and get the interview!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired!
About the Author: James Clift is the CEO at VisualCV – the fastest way for job seekers to build stand-out resumes and portfolios.